Oh … Snap! Teens are coding the future

Oh … Snap! Teens are coding the future

My first experience with coding came from trying to prove people wrong. At the end of eighth grade, my high school guidance counselor was adamant that I take Algebra I again, even though I’d already taken it in middle school. She claimed my class wasn’t rigorous enough—plus I didn’t know how to use a TI-82 calculator, which I’d need in subsequent math classes. My mom, a math teacher herself, would have none of it. I’d pass the Algebra I exam and learn how to use the TI-82 before school started. So that summer, I sat with the instruction booklet and taught myself the programming components on the calculator.

Through high school, I had fun writing little programs to check my math homework, but had no real exposure to computer science. It remained too intangible to consider as a major in college (let alone a career path), but through the encouragement of a college professor, I learned more about it. And even then, it was unfathomable that computer science could help me create Google Maps, a product that would delight, empower and inspire people, and change how they navigate the world.

There are many teens out there who are exploring how to use math and technology outside of the classroom. Just like I was in high school, some may be excited about the future of technology, but aren’t sure how to transform that excitement into something they can see, touch or feel. Let’s turn those ideas into code.

To show teens how they can be creators, not just consumers, of the apps they use all the time, Made with Code is joining forces with Snap Inc. to host a first-of-its-kind competition called #MyFutureMe. From now until October 8, teens can go to MadewithCode.com to code a geofilter (for the non-teens out there: it’s a creative overlay that shows where you are or what you’re up to) and submit a 100-word statement about the future you envision. You don’t need any prior coding experience to give it a try. Snap will choose five finalists to go to the TEDWomen Conference in New Orleans, LA, where they’ll receive mentoring sessions from Google engineers and work with Snap engineers to create a lens (again, for the non-teens: this is augmented reality technology that adds animations to your selfies, general photos, and the world around us).

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Two examples of what a #MyFutureMe coded geofilter could look like.

A panel of amazing people will judge the lenses from the five finalists. The panel includes our very own Ruth Porat (SVP and CFO of Google and Alphabet), Evan Spiegel (CEO of Snap), Malala Yousafzai (student, activist and Malala Fund Co-Founder), Joanna Coles (Chief Content Officer at Hearst), Laurie Hernandez (Olympic gymnast), Victoria Justice (actress and singer), Lilly Singh (YouTube personality, entertainer, and founder of Girl Love) and Dr. Yvonne Cagle (NASA astronaut). Together, we’ll choose one lucky winner whose lens will be eligible to go live nationally in the Snapchat app. They’ll also receive a trip to Los Angeles, CA, for a private, VIP tour of the Snapchat and Google offices.

With this contest, Made with Code and Snap will help teens nationwide see that the things they love, like Snapchat, are made with code. Teens are already Snapping. Let’s get them coding, too.

Googler Adriana Jara doesn’t accept “fine”—she changes things for the better

Googler Adriana Jara doesn’t accept “fine”—she changes things for the better

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. Today we hear from Adriana Jara, software engineer, passionate dancer and dog lover, who thinks life is too short to wear matching socks.

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Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.

As a software engineer, I help build the infrastructure to make shopping ads on Youtube.com more relevant and useful.

When did you immigrate to the U.S.?

When I got the job at Google, I moved to Sunnyvale, CA from Candelaria de Naranjo, a small town in Costa Rica. I got on a flight on September 27, 2013—exactly four years ago today!

How has the Hispanic community been a part of your experience at Google?

For me, it’s extremely important to have a group of people who are “like me,” who share my cultural background and can speaking Spanish with me sometimes. It gives me a sense of belonging at Google.

What is your favorite Costa Rican tradition or food?

I love “olla de carne.” It’s a kind of soup with a bunch of vegetables and meat (of course, the best one is my mom’s).

Have you always pictured yourself working at Google?

It’s been a dream since Gmail came out while I was in college. I remember trying it out and thinking “I really want to work with the people who built this thing.” I thought email was fine as it used to work, but wow, they took a thing that was “fine” and improved it so much. I want to be one of those people that doesn’t accept things that are fine, but changes them for the better. Years later, I heard about an opportunity at Google, thought back to those college days and decided to give the dream a try.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My entire family. But the things that have pushed me the most were first given to me by my father. He gave me a love for books—he is always reading—and taught me to be a self-learner. He always talks about wonderful places around the world and he took me in my first trip outside of Costa Rica, planting in me the hunger to see the world.

What has been a big moment for you at Google?

I went to a recruiting event at a high school in Costa Rica. When I was introduced, they mentioned my small hometown, and I heard a solitary but enthusiastic “Woo!” from the crowd. After the talk, one of the students (the source of the “woo”) approached me and said, “I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that someone from our hometown could work at Google. This is awesome, I now want to work for NASA and I think I can do it.” That moment made me feel like I’ve come so far, and that I’m helping people see it is possible to work for big companies, no matter where you’re born.

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    Here’s my family: without them I couldn’t have done anything.
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    My dogs are my fellow adventurers—they traveled all the way from Costa Rica with me
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    In the famous ball pit at the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Teachers keep their lesson plans fresh with Expeditions

Teachers keep their lesson plans fresh with Expeditions

While most students are settling back into the classroom, teachers everywhere are thinking about how to keep their lesson plans fresh. The struggle is real, but it’s definitely worth it: students learn better and faster when they’re engaged with the material at hand. That’s one reason why we built Expeditions: it lets teachers take their classrooms on virtual field trips anywhere and get a completely different perspective. So as the school year kicks into high gear, we wanted to share a few updates to Expeditions that might help bring the lessons to life.

First, this week marks the start of the Expeditions AR Pioneer Program. Our team is hitting the road as we visit schools around the U.S. to bring augmented reality to the classroom.

Students will learn about topics like the circulatory system and Ancient Rome together by observing digital objects right in front of them. The program will kick off in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Austin, and the New York City area, but these are just our first stops. We’ll be traveling across the United States with Expeditions AR throughout this school year, so if you’d like us to visit your school, please let us know by signing up.

We’re also releasing five special VR expeditions this week featuring scenes from Earth VR. Earth VR is one of the most popular apps for high-end virtual reality systems, and it lets you explore the world in beautiful detail, but it needs more computing power than a smartphone can handle. But, thanks to a new tool that we announced at Google I/O called Seurat, it’s now possible to experience some of the magic of Earth VR on a mobile device. You can trek to the top of mountains like Mont Blanc or Kilimanjaro, and take a trip to some of the world’s most famous cities, including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Access these new Earth Expeditions right in the app.

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Last, we’re bringing self-guided Expeditions to iOS (it’s already available on Android). So now, with an iPhone or iPad, anyone can explore anywhere Expeditions take you. It’s also great for guides who want to assign an Expedition for homework, or do a practice run before taking their classroom along. Check out more than 700 Expeditions including tours of universities, virtual career days, and even a trip to the  International Space Station. So grab Expeditions from Google Play or the App Store, and start exploring!

Android Oreo: a smart, tough and productive cookie for enterprises

Android Oreo: a smart, tough and productive cookie for enterprises

Android 8.0 Oreo is now available, bringing a sweet combination of improved productivity and enhanced security to enterprise customers. The new release builds on the consistent investments we’ve made to make Android stronger, easier to manage, and more productive for the enterprise.  

Personal space on your work device

Android’s unique work profile creates the best of both worlds—separating work and personal data so IT has the security it needs and users have the freedom to use the personal apps and services they want. Only the work data is managed, giving IT full control of corporate information and keeping employees’ photos, apps, and other personal data separate.

In Android Oreo, we’re now bringing work profiles to corporate-owned devices. Now, organizations can enable company devices for personal use with a work profile. While the organization still retains control of the device, work apps and data can be put in a work profile, keeping personal apps and data outside the profile.

This brings the benefits of the work profile to company-owned devices, such as removing the need for a complex device-wide passcode, and allowing employees to turn off work notifications when they’re away. The improved usability and clear separation makes this management mode ideal for corporate-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) deployments.

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Get up and running in seconds

With zero-touch enrollment available in Android Oreo, organizations can deploy corporate-owned Android devices with enterprise mobility management settings pre-configured, so team members can start using their device right out of the box. Devices can be configured online and drop-shipped to employees who will have management enforced from the start.

With the work profile in Oreo, we’ve made it easier than ever for employees to set up their personal device for work, with 10x faster work profile setup. We’ve even reduced the enrollment steps required so users can get their work profile set up with a single tap—no complicated instructions required.

Robust security that stops malware in its tracks

We continue to invest in Android platform security, giving IT more advanced capabilities in managing their fleet of devices. With Project Treble in Oreo, we’re improving security by separating the underlying vendor implementation from the core Android framework. This modularization isolates each hardware abstraction layer (HAL) into its own process so each HAL only gets the hardware driver and kernel access it needs. This improves sandboxing and makes it harder for framework compromises to exploit the kernel.

We’re also enabling stricter enforcement of Google Play Protect, our always-on security service that scans for malware and blocks potentially harmful apps. Now, admins can block unknown or risky apps from being installed across the whole device, outside the work profile. We’re also providing new APIs to enable administrators to verify the security posture of their fleet including details on which apps are installed.

With the inclusion of secure password reset, it’s now easier for admins to securely help users recover from forgotten passwords on fully encrypted devices. Admins can also enable network logging for corporate-owned devices to record DNS lookups and TCP connections, helping companies detect suspicious network behavior or remotely debug problematic apps.

Improved privacy and transparency

It’s important for employees to have visibility into management policies, particularly when considering a device for personal use. To help employees stay informed, we’ve made it easier to see management actions taken across the device, such as the installation of a new app or enforcement of a lock screen. We’ve also improved notifications for connectivity changes, like always-on VPN and network logging.

These are just a few of the new and improved enterprise features in Android Oreo, with more updates coming soon. To learn more, check out the What’s new in Android 8.0 page.

Present like a pro: these new updates in Slides are designed to make you look good

Present like a pro: these new updates in Slides are designed to make you look good

As a go-to presentation tool, Google Slides already comes equipped with real-time collaboration features. Starting today, we’re introducing new robust features to help you and your team win that pitch, nail that client presentation and get buy-in for new ideas—all while saving valuable time.

Here’s a look at the latest updates in Slides, including new G Suite integrations, partner applications and customization options.

Capture ideas in Keep, bring them to life in Slides

We built Keep to help you easily capture and organize ideas. Today, you can use a new drag-and-drop integration between Keep and Slides to transform these ideas into action. Simply select notes from Keep (or sort with #labels) and drag them into Slides. When you add a note from Keep into your presentation, Slides will automatically add a title and description for you.

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The Office of Information Technology for the State of Colorado uses the new Keep and Slides integration to keep track of population numbers at different agencies and report them to their team. Instead of digging through emails and Docs to track down figures, the team saves statistics to Keep and drags them into Slides to present.

If you’re new to Keep, download here.

Skip manual updates, use linked Slides

Whether you’re trying to prepare several client presentations or make sure data is up to date, repeatedly copying slides from one presentation to another is a major time-sink. Now, you can link and sync slides from multiple presentations with a click. This way, you can maintain a single source of truth and easily update linked slides to match the source, like for quarterly business reviews or company presentations.

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Sriram Iyer, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce Sales Cloud, is excited to use the new slide embedding feature to streamline his teams workflows. Says Iyer, “At Salesforce, we use Google Slides for customer-facing and internal presentations. The linked slides feature will help us easily keep presentations up-to-date.”

You asked, we updated

Our customers also asked for additional features in Slides. We listened to those requests and now you can:

  • Insert Diagrams, or ready-to-use visualizations. This is great for when you need to effectively share timelines, processes or hierarchies.
  • Select Grid view to view all your slides at once as thumbnails. This helps you easily reorder or change formats of multiple slides.
  • Tailor presentations to different audiences with the Skip slide feature. You can now choose to skip select slides without fully deleting them when you present from your phone or laptop.

Try these feature upgrades and create better presentations.

Try new add-ons, shape up your Slides

We’re constantly improving Slides to provide you with robust tools to share ideas. Today, we’re bringing add-ons to Slides. To kick it off, we’re introducing seven  integrations—designed to bring expertise from companies like Adobe and Shutterstock—right in Slides.

Use these new, rich integrations to help you build more powerful presentations, whether you want to add full-bleed images, use advanced image editing tools or include diagrams you created in programs outside of G Suite.

  • Search for and add images from Adobe Stock, right in Slides. You can use the Adobe Stock add-on to build visually-stunning presentations in Slides. Teams can seamlessly search, preview and purchase Adobe Stock images—without leaving Slides. Through the add-on, teams can also use Adobe Stock Visual Search to find relevant stock images with an uploaded image (versus a text search).

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  • Use the Shutterstock Editor add-on to add and customize photos within Slides. With the Shutterstock add-on, teams can browse Shutterstock’s entire library of royalty-free images, and sign into Shutterstock to license content, directly in Slides. Select an image, then apply customization options like filters, text, logos and more.
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Teams can benefit from even more powerful capabilities in Slides with additional add-ons from Balsamiq, Lucidchart, Pear Deck, Noun Project and Unsplash. Tap “Add-ons” in the Slides menu bar to get started.

Customize Slides, automate workflows with Apps Script

Apps Script, the same technology that powers add-ons, can transform the way you work. Apps Script for Slides lets your teams programmatically create and modify Slides, and customize the menus, dialog boxes and sidebars in the user interface.

So, what’s the big deal? Apps Script provides amazing possibilities for improving your team’s workflows. Sales teams can use Apps Script to automatically pull in information from Sheets’ databases to create customized client pitch decks and templates. Marketing teams can host internal assets in a customized sidebar in Slides for easy access to logos and files they use most often.

To learn more about how you can automate your workflows using Apps Script, check out this post.

Present with confidence using Slides—these updates start rolling out to all customers globally on the web today.

How BeyondCorp can help businesses be more productive

How BeyondCorp can help businesses be more productive

Over the past few years, Google has been moving away from VPN-based security for our employees, and towards a trust model that’s based on people and devices, rather than networks. We call it BeyondCorp—moving beyond a corporate network for internal services and applications. It’s the basis for Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy, which can be used to authenticate users for applications running on Google Cloud Platform.

We recently published our fifth research paper on BeyondCorp, this time focused on the employee experience—how they first end up using this system, and what it looks like when things go wrong. We discuss how onboarding has gotten easier with no VPN, how loaners are quick to activate, and how we give employees the ability to handle and resolve their own issues when the Chrome extension is getting in their way.

When new employees join Google, access is based on machines and identity, not the network. We tell them about our access policy: you can get to the tools you need no matter where you are, so long as you’re on your corporate issued laptop (a slight oversimplification, I’ll admit). As we prepare their computers for delivery on their first day at work, we make sure our inventory provisioning procedures add the devices to our asset management system and assign an owner. Then, when each employee signs into their own machine, we kick off automated requests for machine certificates. These are used to guide the machine to the right VLAN. This onboarding process streamlines our new device setup, and eliminates the need to install VPN software on each employee’s laptop.

After their first day, the most interaction employees will have with BeyondCorp is through a Chrome extension, which shows the current status of their connection. This gives our IT teams and end users a way to find errors, troubleshoot and fix them quickly. Anyone can turn the proxy off manually using the extension—a common need when using captive portals or local network hardware.

The latest paper also discusses how we expose details about denial of access. While we want to make sure our employees, and the service desk assisting them, can quickly resolve access errors, we also need to make sure we don’t expose too much data to attackers in the way we say “nope, not allowed” to some requests. Building this explanation engine helped us troubleshoot BeyondCorp as we deployed more broadly, and it gave our troubleshooting teams insight into what’s going wrong when someone reports an unexpected access denied message.

BeyondCorp has helped us streamline the onboarding process, and given employees the tools they need to fix problems when things go wrong. We hope it will inspire you as well. You can read the research paper on Research at Google.

Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria recently made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 10 people and leaving much of the island without power or water. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, millions more are looking to rebuild—the storm destroyed the island of Dominica, killing at least 15 people, and devastated the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos.

I was born and raised outside of San Juan, in a town called Cupey, and left the island to study in the States. Today, I still have family there, as well as in Barranquitas, towards the center of the island. The roof broke off my grandmother’s terrace, a place filled with many memories of family gatherings growing up. My uncles, who are agricultural entrepreneurs in Barranquitas, were able to visit their land just yesterday and see the damage caused to their crops, completely turning their business upside down. I’m lucky that my family members are all safe, but the damage will still take years to repair.

To help with the relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and beyond, Google.org and Googlers are committing $1 million in donations to organizations that are providing critical resources to the affected regions. To support immediate humanitarian needs, we’re distributing funds to organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program, and UNICEF. We’re also supporting NetHope, which provides Internet access in the wake of natural disasters around the world, because connectivity can be a critical link in providing basic needs like food, water and medical care. This month has taxed the resources of first responder agencies across the region, and we want to make sure nonprofits like NetHope have the resources they need to respond to Hurricane Maria. We’ve also had a small team of engineers volunteer in the wake of recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to help restore connectivity by setting up hot-spots and assisting with other technical needs that local nonprofits and shelters may have. We’re working with NetHope to find ways that our technical volunteers can be most helpful in Puerto Rico as well.

Crisis Response and SOS Alerts

In times of crises, having access to timely safety information can be critical. Ahead of the storm, Google’s Crisis Response team launched SOS Alerts for Hurricane Maria. Although few people have connectivity in the storm’s wake, we’ve continued to update the alert with information on power outages, emergency information contacts, the damage to the Guajataca dam, and crisis maps in both English and Spanish. Those outside of the region can also find the latest news and information, as well as an easy way to donate to relief efforts, directly through Search.

As the 2017 hurricane season has pummeled the U.S. and the Caribbean, Google.org, Google employees and the public have collectively donated $7 million for relief efforts in the areas affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria. My thoughts are with everyone in Puerto Rico and other affected areas, and it gives me solace to know that my colleagues and company are doing everything they can to help.